SD Farmers Union campers learn the value of cooperation

Youth from across Clay County learned the value of working together and serving their communities while gaining skills to become the leaders of tomorrow during the annual Clay County Farmers Union camp held July 2 at Prentis Park in Vermillion.

Young people ages, six to13 attended this year's camp themed, The Power of Cooperation.  The kids participated in activities and games that taught them about cooperative businesses, rural communities, agriculture, and community service in a fun and safe setting.  There were also activities based on the Farmers Union "Leading by Serving" curriculum.

In 1945, Farmers Union was a founding member of Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe (CARE), which has become one of the world's largest private humanitarian organizations.  The first CARE packages were filled with food given to soldiers fighting in World War II.  The youth attending this year's camp had the opportunity to create their own CARE packages filled with various products from local cooperative businesses.  The campers were challenged to bring those CARE packages back to someone in their community who they would like to help.  This activity also taught the children about the cooperative businesses which produce the products included in their CARE packages.  They also had the opportunity to decorate their CARE bag.

"This year's curriculum was very valuable to the development of leadership skills and the spirit of community service," State Education Director Bonnie Geyer said. "The future of rural South Dakota depends on these young people, and we're working to develop them into the leaders of tomorrow by teaching them to cooperate and serve others."

Participants at this year's Clay County Farmers Union camp were: Marshall Boppert, Ashley Neely, Phillip and Tyler Hauck, Emilia Gamarra Hapon, Lakayah Lucas, Nic Harris, Hari Kadarkaraisany, Olivia Tawzer, Caroline Horton, Liam Percy, Patrick Dimock, Amanda and Victoria Havermann, Brenna, Cael, and Lauren Mockler, Martin Anderson, Mia Johns, Skylir Allen, Julia Hilpert, Haley Falkena, Brandon and Zach Mueller, Kacie Stepp, and Roain Pitchford; all of Vermillion and Erik Bolin of Norfolk, NE. Clay County Farmers Union camp was directed the Farmers Union Summer Interns Anne Wudel and Morgan Bushfield.  Also assisting were Angie Christensen, Danielle Bolin, and Philip Munkvold.

For more information on South Dakota Farmers Union and how you and your children can get involved in the organization's youth activities, visit the education page at or call Bonnie Geyer, SD Farmers Union State Education Director at 605-352-6761 ext. 125.

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